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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Office Closings

The RSVP and Cornell Cooperative Extension offices will be closed from Thursday, December 25 thru Thursday, January 1 for the holidays. We reopen on Friday, January 2.

Enjoy your holidays and have a happy, healthy new year!

We'll see you in 2009!!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Digital TV Conversion: The Time Is Now!

It’s only 67 days until the digital television transition on February 17, and December is the critical month. Since it may take as long as six weeks from applying for a government coupon to placing a converter box in operation,NOW is the time to apply for a coupon, buy a converter box and try it out!

Information on the transition, how to apply for the $40 government coupons, where to buy converter boxes, and how to install and use them is available at several websites: Among other resources, this FCC website has outreach information for partners and consumer education materials on buying and installing converter boxes. At this secure website you can apply for the $40 government coupons. Information is available here in 10 languages besides English. This NTIA website has links to apply for the coupons, and explanatory brochures in English, Spanish, Korean, Chinese, Tagalog, and Vietnamese. n4a is working to secure resources for AAAs and Title VI Native American aging programs to assist older adults in making a smooth transition. The website has free materials to help aging professionals and consumers get up-to-speed on this timely issue. This is the website of the DTV Transition Coalition made up of business, trade and industry groups as well as grass roots and membership organizations that share an interest in a smooth transition. It has a variety of educational and presentation materials.

Monday, December 8, 2008

NOTICE: Change in Transportation Services

Beginning December 22, 2008, Schuyler County seniors (60+) in need of transportation should call the Office for the Aging at 535-7108. Veterans, Medicaid (not Medicare) recipients, and clients with Mental Health appointments should continue to call their appropriate offices.

Seniors 60+ or Wheelchair Bound Seniors - Call Ric at the Office for the Aging, 535-7108

Veterans - Call Joan at the Veterans Office, 535-2091

Medicaid Recipients
- Call Ranay at Social Services, 535-8368

Mental Health - Call Lois at Mental Health, 535-8282

Though there has been a slight change in transportation coordinator duties, RSVP volunteer drivers will continue to provide this much needed service.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Buy a Cat for Christmas - Reduce Your Risk of Heart Attack

Buy a Cat for Christmas - Reduce Your Risk of Heart Attack
By: Jim Evans

DEAR JIM: My wife – 69 – has a calico cat, and she insists that this cat makes her feel better. She has even dressed it up for Christmas this year with a ribbon around its neck and jingle bells. Personally, I’m not a cat lover, and I tolerate this particular cat only because it seems to make my wife happy, but how can “a cat” make anyone feel better? I always thought dogs made people feel better, but cats??? SKEPTIC IN SKOKIE

DEAR SKEPTIC: Your wife probably has no idea WHY her cat makes her feel better but, believe it or not, recent research shows that cats may actually lower the risk of heart attacks and strokes by relieving the stress and anxiety typically linked to coronary disease and heart attacks.

Researchers for the Minnesota Stroke Institute in Minneapolis found that “people who do not own cats have a 40% higher risk of dying from a myocardial infarction than people who do keep cats as pets,” according to Adnan Qureshi, M.D. “We did not find a significant difference between people who owned dogs or other pets” (“ASA: Cats May Protect Owners Against Cardiovascular Death,” by Ed Susman, MedPage Today, February 21, 2008).

“Cats are, by and large, easier to care for and more manageable, especially among older persons,” said Qureshi. “Cats also tend to help build a person’s self-esteem, which could be diminished by risk factors for heart attacks such as obesity, mobility, or injury. We know that cats are helpful in rehabilitation from injuries and illnesses such as stroke.”

Results should still considered preliminary, but if the findings can be substantiated, cat ownership might be considered as a cost-effective intervention in reducing heart attacks and possibly other forms of cardiovascular disease such as stroke for high-risk individuals according to Qureshi.

Sounds like you might want to jump on the kitty bandwagon and make friends with your wife’s cat or buy one for yourself to reduce your stress level. Your local pet shelter probably has a nice selection to choose from in time for Christmas – even for a crusty old cat hater like you. Chill out and appreciate that your wife might be right on this one.

Jim Evans is a 41-year veteran of the health and fitness industry and internationally recognized fitness consultant. Send your questions about health and fitness to

Friday, November 21, 2008

Drivers Needed!

RSVP is looking for volunteers to drive individuals to and from medical appointments as referred by Schuyler County agencies; OFA, Mental Health, Public Health, DSS, and Veterans. Interested parties must have a safe driving record, valid driver's license and auto insurance as required by New York State law. The volunteer must be reliable, prompt and dependable.

Volunteers receive individualized orientation to RSVP transportation policies, including voucher procedures for mileage reimbursement. Reimbursement is available at the IRS rate, currently 58 1/2 cents per mile.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Emergency Kits on Sale

RSVP is offering a ‘Buy One/Get One Free’ deal on their Triad emergency kits. Kits are valued at $27 each and you can purchase 2 for just $10. That’s 2 emergency kits packed with enough food, water and other supplies to last through a 72 hour period in the event of a disaster. Be prepared for winter snow and ice storms since you never know when the electricity will go out. Makes a great holiday gift! This offer is limited to one purchase per household in Schuyler County only. There is a limited supply so call the RSVP office at 535-7105 right away.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Urgent Need for Income Tax Counselors!!

We cannot provide this service without volunteers!

RSVP is urgently looking for volunteer tax preparers to assist with the 2008 tax returns of Schuyler County’s senior population. Extensive training and guidance is provided. Returns are completed and sent electronically. Laptops and printers are supplied.

Please share this volunteer opportunity with your friends age 55 and older.

Over 150 Schuyler seniors take advantage of our free tax assistance program.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Plastic Bags Needed

The Penn Yan Food For the Needy program is in need of donated, used-but-clean plastic grocery bags for the Backpack Program. They are using 450 plastic bags each week – and so any contribution would be appreciated.

If you bring/send the plastic bags to the Yates County Office for the Aging, they’ll make sure they make their way over to the Food Pantry and Backpack program. If you want to be super helpful, please place them flat in a bag with all handles going in the same direction.

Also, if you know of any unwanted/unused supplies of plastic bags (so perhaps old promotional items), please send those along too!

Many thanks!

Katie Smeenk
Director, Pro Action Yates Aging and Youth Services
ProAction of Steuben and Yates, Inc.
417 Liberty Street
Penn Yan, NY 14527

Phone: (315) 536-5515


What is the Backpack program?

The Backpack Program is a weekend food program developed and operated Food for the Needy in Penn Yan (a food pantry). They have just added Dundee Central School students and have about 450 students in the Penn Yan and Dundee elementary and middle schools receiving food each week. The food is purchased and packed by volunteers. Items included in the weekly food pack are nutritious foods like oatmeal, cereal bars, peanut butter, tuna fish, juice boxes etc. and is designed to feed a young student for several meals during the weekend. The maximum weight of the bag of feed is 3 lbs or less so that elementary school children can carry it easily. Families complete an application to enroll their child in the program, but applications are screened and kept by the schools. Only the names and grade level of the children are given to the Backpack Program.
Here is an excerpt from the Food Bank of the Southern Tier’s Annual Report about their back pack program:

The BackPack Program™ fills the gap over weekends and school breaks when children cannot access free and reduced price school meals. Many teachers canattest to children who resist going home on Friday, or who complain of illnesses each Monday morning. This program provides a bag of nutritious food items each Friday to children who exhibit signs of chronic hunger.

Thanks again for your great response! It is so appreciated!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Shoe Strings Walking Program

Did you know there is a fun and FREE indoor walking program available to you right in Watkins Glen? The "Shoe Strings" program is organized by RSVP. It begins on November 3 and takes place in the Watkins Glen High School from 3:00-4:30 every day that school is in session. Just enter at the Field House and sign in with Janet, an RSVP volunteer that helps organize the program. For more information, view our flier.
When walking for exercise remember to keep a normal stride. Extending our stride length jolts our joints and actually slows us down. You may also put stress on your joints and ligaments by trying to go very quickly or by lengthening your stride too much. Take it slow, enjoy the day. Stop and smell the roses.

Walt S.
RSVP Volunteer

Thanks Walt, for this great tip. I'm sure many will benefit from it! Is there a helpful tip or story you'd like to share with other RSVP members? Write us!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Volunteering Is For The Birds!

In this case I’m referring to Citizen Scientists who are assisting in bird surveys being conducted by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. If you have a bird feeder in your back yard you can join others across the continent that are gathering data to better understand and conserve birds. This is an RSVP assignment and all time spent working on this project should be counted. Unlike other RSVP assignments there is a $15 fee to participate in "Project FeederWatch". The first 5 volunteers to contact me about their plans to participate and actually record their November volunteer hours spent on the project will receive full reimbursement of the fee in December. So don’t delay…the season begins soon, running from November 8 to April 3.

Contact me or go directly to to learn more about winter projects, including the annual 4 day bird count being conducted Feb 13-16, 2009.

Call me about a new option for reporting your volunteer hours ‘on-line’ with ‘Web Assistant’.

Happy Volunteering!

Beth Lisk

About Our Blog

Welcome to the RSVP blog. This venue will serve as an informal way for volunteers, non-profit organizations and the RSVP staff to communicate stories, new ideas and trends in volunteering and pretty much anything we want to share relating to volunteerism.

I look forward to hearing your thoughts, sharing the latest news about volunteering, announcing new opportunities and getting to know you better. It’s easy. Just make a ‘comment’ and you will be sharing your ideas and stories with other volunteers in Schuyler & Yates Counties.

Happy Volunteering!

Beth Lisk

Wednesday, October 1, 2008


Welcome to our blog. We will be using this blog to share information with our volunteers. Please check back soon for new posts.